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Oddbins sees growth from Australia as it expands range

Oddbins has boosted its New World Wines from Australia and Chile as it looks to build up the squeezed middle tier.

Buyer Ana Sapungiu said the Australian range, which she has added to on an ad hoc basis, was ripe for review as the quality of the wines had improved so much – but admitted that Chile had been more of a challenge.

“There are so many good wines and such a choice coming out of Australia,” she told db at Friday’s tasting. “Lot of people are going back to doing an Australian wine as it should be, rather than doing a European-style wine in Australia as they have done in the past. And as well as going back to what they are good at, it is at an accessible price point.”

However Sapungui said the country’s middle bracket was suffering as consumers increasingly looked elsewhere, and the retailer had consciously decided to go after the middle tier to add in “some truly Australian wines from interesting winemakers that fills that gap”.

“Big brands have done well, but everything that isn’t branded – that isn’t an own-label at £7 – has struggled, as consumers went elsewhere, to Chile, Argentina, South Africa or the South of France,” she told db.

Despite the dearth in the middle tier, Australian fine wines has done exceptionally well, she notes, with Oddbins seeing sales in double figures.

“It’s been one of the most successful periods we’ve had,” she admitted.

She highlighted some of the retailers new additions – A Pinot Noir from Tasmania, Dalrymple Pipers River Pinot Noir 2013 (RRP: £29.00) in the fine wine range,  and an “amazing” Pertit Verdot from South Australia, Salena Overland Petit Verdot 2014 (RRP: £9.75) and “nice mix of varieties” comprising Shiraz, Grenache and 2 Mourvèdre from Frankland River, Larry Cherubino Apostropher ‘Possesive Red’ 2014 (RRP: £12.50).

However Chile had been more of a “challenge” from a practical point-of-view, she said.

“There hasn’t been that much of interest and the quality is average, when we’ve trying to go for something different,” she admitted, adding that there was only “a little” of the new wave Chilean wines coming through.

“There is a little bit coming from the extremes of the country, and there is a lot of experimenting, but that is hard to explain and sell,” she said. “You need something that brings relatively good volumes and on top of that, fives more interesting things.”

Sapungui has also added to the French range, which benefitted from a major range review earlier this year, concentraing in particular on the South of the country. This includes declassified Croze Hermitage.

“There is a lot of value and scope in the South of France. Like Australia, there is a lot more to discover.”

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